Participatory Farm Management


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An abridged version of The University of Reading's manual of participatory farm management methods.

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Participatory Farm Management

  1. 1. Participatory Farm Management methods for agricultural research and extension: a training manual Mark Galpin1, Peter Dorward1 and Derek Shepherd2 1 Department of Agriculture 2 Agricultural Extension and Rural Development Department The University of Reading PO Box 237 Reading RG6 6AR UK January 2000 ISBN 0 7049 1091 8
  2. 2. 6 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods Box 1 Summary of PFM methods 1 Scored Causal Diagrams (SCD) help to examine in detail the causes and effects of problems and identify the root causes which need to be addressed. The scoring procedure helps to analyse the relative importance of the problems and prioritise them. 2 Participatory Budgets (PB) are tools which examine a farmer s use and production of resources over time for a specific enterprise. Their main uses are for: ! analysing farmers existing activities, resource-use and production ! exploring the resource implications of a change to an enterprise ! comparing different enterprises ! planning a new enterprise. 3 Resource Allocation Maps (RAM) examine the use of resources over the whole farm during a specific period of time e.g. a month. RAMs can be used for: ! looking at farmers decisions regarding resource allocation in different situations. ! examining resource competition between different enterprises at a specific time of the year. 4 Resource Flow Diagrams (RFD) help to analyse flows of resources at the farm level.
  3. 3. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 7 The outsiders role PFM methods are designed to be used by research, extension or development workers, with small groups of farmers. As with all participatory methods the attitude and approach of the facilitator is key to the successful use of the methods and is as important as the method itself. The role of the outsider should be one of facilitator and pupil, rather than teacher. He / She will need to initiate the discussion and introduce the method to the group, but as soon as possible the participants should take over and do the exercise themselves. The facilitator is therefore learning from the participants and asking questions for clarification. Facilitators need to be constantly aware of their behaviour and role in the group, to ensure that they do not dominate and control. The tips given below in Box 2 will help the facilitator to achieve this. Box 2 General tips for use of the methods ! Focus on things of interest to the farmer, not to you. ! Be flexible — with the farmers flow . go ! Let the farmers do it themselves. ! Who s holding the beans? — should not be you! it ! Don t immediately correct the farmers, even if you think they have made a mistake. They will probably correct it later themselves. ! Let the farmers do the talking. ! Learn rather than teach. ! Be imaginative and creative in the use of symbols. They should be as representative of what they are portraying as possible. ! Keep diagrams on the floor clear. ! Keep the exercise moving — t let the participants get bored. don
  4. 4. 10 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods Method 1: Scored Causal Diagrams (SCDs) 1.1 Introduction Problem listing, scoring and ranking is a commonly used and effective PRA tool. However these techniques often fail to examine the relationships between the problems identified, as scores are given for each problem independently, even if the problems are closely linked. This can result in closely related problems being seen in isolation. Attempts have been made to look at these inter-relationships e.g. using problem tree analysis, however this is often a method used purely for the collection of information, with analysis and interpretation carried out by outsiders rather than the community themselves. Causal diagramming is a technique which helps the farmer and researcher together to identify the linkages and relationships between different problems. This technique has begun to be used by PRA practitioners and is further developed in this manual, mainly through the introduction of a scoring method which is used with the diagram. Scored causal diagramming helps to clarify the nature of each problem more exactly and to identify the root causes or problems which need to be addressed, and their relative importance. This also helps in identifying possible key solutions and the knock-on effects of those solutions. Scored Causal Diagrams help to examine in detail the causes and effects of problems and to identify the root causes which need to be addressed. The scoring procedure helps to analyse the relative importance of the problems and prioritise them. Scored Causal Diagrams (SCDs) are particularly useful when discussing the problems associated with a specific crop or enterprise. However, they can also be used to look at more general problems facing an individual or a community as a whole. In this section, Causal Diagrams (CDs) are first described and then the scoring technique is introduced. Such a method is much easier to use in the field, than it is to describe in a manual. We would therefore encourage those who are put-off initially by the apparent complexity of SCDs to persevere and have a go in the field, as this is when their strengths become apparent. With increased experience and practice more will be gained by both facilitators (researchers or extension workers) and by farmers through the use of the method.
  5. 5. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 11 1.2 Description of Causal Diagrams Causal diagramming works most effectively after farmers have discussed, listed and scored their problems. Each of the problems listed is then represented on the ground by a symbol. Arrows are used to represent the cause and effect relationships between these different problems. Through discussion further problems and their causes and effects might be added to the diagram. A Causal Diagram should not be considered to be a definitive statement but as a useful tool to aid discussion and in-depth analysis of problems and issues together with farmers. It should be noted that individual problems are often causes of other problems. For example from the simplified example given in Box 4, buses late is a problem as well as a cause of drivers drive too fast . It is therefore artificial to distinguish between problems and causes. In the text we therefore use the terms interchangeably.
  6. 6. 12 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods Box 4 Simplified example of a Causal Diagram The problems identified by various users of a bus company were: ! poor roads ! many accidents ! buses are late Through discussing and drawing the causes and relationships between the problems, it became apparent that the problems were closely linked. Another problem also came to light. Poor roads result in the buses being late. Because the buses are late, the drivers drive too fast. Driving fast results in lots of accidents. The accidents are also directly caused by the poor roads. (Note that the end problem of lots of accidents is the opposite of the objective of the bus company i.e. safe transport). The root cause of the problems identified is therefore the poor roads . The solution is therefore to improve the condition of the roads. This will mean that buses arrive on time, therefore the drivers will not need to drive too fast, which will result in fewer accidents. Better roads will also directly reduce the number of accidents. By solving the root cause of the problems identified (poor roads), the end problem (lots of accidents) will be solved. The objective of the bus company (safe transport) will therefore be achieved.
  7. 7. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 13 1.3 Procedure a The topic or area of discussion is first identified with the participants. This could be simply general problems facing a community or could be focused on a specific crop or enterprise which interests the participants. The group should come to a consensus on the specific enterprise or area they want to examine. b The farmers discuss and list their problems using symbols to illustrate each problem as it is identified. This list is then scored. The facilitator explains that often problems are connected and the next step is to look at the connections between the problems identified. This can be explained briefly using an appropriate example (see Box 4). c If a specific enterprise is being discussed, the objective of the enterprise needs to be clarified with the participants by asking why they are involved in this particular enterprise. For example, if it is a cash crop the objective is likely to be to earn income . If it is a food crop it is likely to be to grow enough food to eat . Often there may be more than one objective, for example for a crop which is both eaten and sold. All objectives should be identified. d These objectives (or objective) are then expressed as problems and symbolised on the ground. For example, if tomatoes were being discussed and the objective of the farmers was to earn an income from tomatoes , this objective expressed as a problem becomes low income from tomatoes . If the objective is enough tomatoes to eat this becomes not enough tomatoes to eat . On a general Causal Diagram the objective is likely to be wealth or happiness . The end problem would therefore be poverty or unhappiness . The objective expressed as a problem is the end or final problem on the Causal Diagram which all other problems eventually cause. e The direct causes of the end problem are then identified by the farmers. As they are identified the symbols are placed on the diagram and arrows are drawn in to represent the causal relationships between the problems. Each problem is represented on the ground once only. The causes of those problems are identified and added to the diagram. These may be from the original list or may be newly identified. The process is continued until the participants are happy that all the problems have been included and all the connections identified. N.B. It is important that a general lack of money as a cause, is separated from the problem of low income from the enterprise , otherwise it can result in a very confusing diagram. Often it is helpful to exclude the problem of a general lack of money altogether from the diagram as it can dominate and be seen as the source of all the problems.
  8. 8. 14 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods f The problems at the edge of the diagram with no identified causes are the root causes. If the logic of the diagram is correct, solving these root causes will result in the other problems being overcome. It can therefore be useful to discuss possible solutions to these root causes with farmers and identify which ones can be influenced by the farmers themselves, and which cannot. Those which are outside of the control of the farmer are likely to be researchable constraints which need outside support to overcome. Researchers should investigate these problems further. For example poor rainfall may be overcome by a more appropriate crop variety or through water conservation measures. Other problems which can be influenced by the farmers are likely to be developmental in nature and subject to more immediate influence. g The positive effects of the solution can be traced back on the diagram, turning problems into solutions e.g. buses late becomes buses on time . h This can result in the farmers prioritising the possible solutions which they would like to explore further. Photograph 1 Farmers constructing a Causal Diagram, Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana
  9. 9. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 15 1.4 General Causal Diagram: example from Zimbabwe Figure 1 Causal Diagram for general problems experienced by a farmer group, Gweru District, Zimbabwe In the Causal Diagram above the end problem is poverty / hunger which are directly caused by low crop production and low prices for cattle. The root causes i.e. those with no identified cause are high population and expensive inputs .
  10. 10. 16 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods 1.5 Example of a Causal Diagram for a specific enterprise The following example is from an exercise carried out with a group of farmers in Buhera District, Zimbabwe who specialise in cotton growing. The problems associated with cotton production were discussed and a Causal Diagram of these problems drawn up. Figure 2 Causal Diagram for cotton growing, Buhera District, Zimbabwe
  11. 11. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 17 Box 5 Tips for causal diagramming ! Select a shady area with a large clear ground area to draw the diagram e.g. under a mango tree. ! Encourage the farmers to draw the arrows and circles clearly on the ground. ! Each problem should be illustrated on the ground once only. ! If your diagram begins to look like a bicycle wheel it suggests that cause and effect interactions are being left out. ! Use symbols which have an actual connection with the problem they represent e.g. cow dung to represent lack of manure , so everyone can remember which symbol represents what problem. ! Discuss the causes and effects of a problem before drawing it on the ground so it is clear where it should be positioned on the diagram. This avoids the diagram becoming too confusing. ! It is important that the distinction is made between the general problem of lack of cash , and the more specific problem of low income from the enterprise being considered. They should not be classified as the same problem but should be distinct on the diagram. If this distinction is not made then the scoring technique outlined in Section 1.6. below may not work. ! It is often better to exclude the problem of low income totally as this tends to dominate the diagram. This can be done by explaining to the participants that low income is a universal problem, so it is better to exclude it from a diagram looking at specific problems. If it is included then it should be as a final effect rather than as a cause. ! Limit the problems to those directly related to the enterprise and actually experienced by the farmers. ! Whilst drawing the diagram the facilitator should encourage discussion by asking questions. For example, I don t understand this connection, can you please explain it to me . This ensures that all the group and the facilitator understand the diagram fully. ! Focus on solutions which the farmers themselves can implement. ! At the end of the exercise the diagram can be re-drawn onto paper for the farmers to keep and refer back to later, if they so wish.
  12. 12. 18 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods 1.6 Scoring method for use with Causal Diagrams 1.6.1 Introduction Although Causal Diagrams are useful for identifying the causes of specific problems and the connections between these problems, they give no indication of the relative importance of the different factors causing each problem. A scoring system is therefore needed so that the relative importance of each of the problems can be analysed. The scoring method outlined below involves moving counters up from the end problem by dividing them between the causes of each subsequent problem. We recommend that while reading through this section of the manual you physically do this. This scoring method helps to determine which causes are more important than others and enables further detailed discussion of each of these. Often this highlights different problems from straight-forward ranking and scoring, providing new insights for both farmers and outsiders. It can sometimes be more useful to score just part of the diagram rather than the whole of it, particularly for general Causal Diagrams. Photograph 2 Farmers in Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana, scoring a Causal Diagram
  13. 13. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 19 1.6.2 Scoring procedure a After drawing the Causal Diagram, identify the end or final problem (the objective expressed as a problem) on the diagram. This should have no effect arrow exiting from it. In the example below this would be low income from maize . b Place an even number of beans on this problem e.g. 10. The number of beans you start with is not important, although the more individual problems there are on the diagram, the more counters are needed at the start. Many pests Poor emergence Low grade Low yields (poor quality) Key Low income •• = 2 beans / counters from maize = ‘end’ problem = ‘root’ cause ••••••• ••• (10) c Ask the farmers to divide the 10 beans between the causes of that problem (i.e. the arrows entering the problem), to represent how important the causes of that problem are. Many pests Poor emergence Low grade Low yields (poor quality) ••• (3) ••••• •• (7) Low income from maize (10) In this example low yields are seen by the farmers as the primary cause of low income and are perceived to be just over twice as important as poor quality .
  14. 14. 20 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods d The scores are then taken back a further step and divided between the causes of the next problem using the same procedure as in step c). In this example the score for low yields (7) is divided between many pests (4) and poor emergence (3). Many pests Poor emergence ••• (3) •••• (4) ••• (3) Low grade Low yields (poor quality) (7) (3) Low income from maize (10) e If no causes of the problem have been identified on the diagram i.e. there are no arrows entering the problem, then the score remains on that problem. If there is only one cause of the problem e.g. many pests is the only cause of low grade , the whole score (3) is moved back to that cause. At each stage the scores are written on the diagram before the beans are moved on. f If a cause has more than one effect, then the scores from these effect arrows are added together. This total is then divided between the different causes of the problem, as in step (c). In the example below the total score for many pests (7) is obtained by adding the score from low grade (3) and the score from low yields (4). Many pests Poor emergence ••• (3) ••••••• 3+4=7 •••• (4) ••• (3) Low grade Low yields (poor quality) (7) (3) Low income from maize (10)
  15. 15. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 21 g The scoring is continued until all the problems on the diagram have been scored. The beans or counters should end up on the root causes. h On completion of the scoring process, the relative scores of the root causes can be compared. The higher the score the more important the problem. This helps the farmers to prioritise the problems which require action. These scores and the reasoning behind the scores (i.e. the causes and effects on the diagram) should be clarified with the participants. i The possible solutions to the root causes can be discussed and the effects of these solutions traced back on the diagram. j If the original list of problems were scored or ranked at the beginning of the exercise it can be useful to compare this with the ranking of problems using scores from the diagram (see the poultry example, section 1.7). Differences should be discussed and the reasons for lower or higher than expected ranked positions identified from the diagram (in terms of the causes and effects of the different problems). Farmers should decide whether the original rank or the rank from the Causal Diagram is more representative of the scale of the problem. Conclusions from the exercise should be clarified by farmers at the end of the exercise and any misinterpretations clarified. k It can be useful to get different categories of farmers to score the same diagram. These categories may be defined by the way they produce a particular crop (as in Box 3) or different wealth, gender or age groups could be used. This highlights the differences between the priorities and problems facing these different categories of farmers.
  16. 16. 22 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods 1.7 Scored Causal Diagram: example from Zimbabwe 1.7.1 Introduction This example is taken from an exercise carried out with a group of farmers in Buhera District, Zimbabwe who are involved in keeping poultry as an income generating project. Problems of keeping poultry were discussed, listed and scored. A Causal Diagram was then constructed and scored using the method described above, starting with 100 beans on the end problem of small profit from poultry . Despite the apparent complexity of the final diagram, farmers were perfectly able to carry out the exercise themselves, facilitated by the extension worker and researcher when necessary. The original ranking was compared with the ranking from scores from the Causal Diagram, and the reasons for differences analysed.
  17. 17. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 23 Fig 3 Scored Causal Diagram for poultry enterprise, Buhera District, Zimbabwe 1.7.2 Explanation of poultry Causal Diagram Considerable discussion took place during the drawing and scoring of the diagram. This helped in defining the problems more clearly and in giving relative values to the causes of each problem. For example, the major cause of small profit was considered to be lack of feeds resulting in thin chickens which fetched a low price. Death of chickens was a less important cause of small profit than lack of feeds as relatively few birds actually died. Lack of feeds was in turn partly caused by no market as farmers were not able to sell their chickens so they had to keep them longer, which resulted in feeds running out.
  18. 18. 24 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods As the inter-relationships were identified and discussed, the exact nature of the problems were clarified. For example, for the problem of no market it was crucial to determine what this meant and why there was no market . It transpired that healthy chickens sold well, and there was only a problem of no market if your chickens were unhealthy. This highlighted the need for disease and parasite control and therefore good housing and equipment. A farmer suggested that the no market problem could also be reduced if production was timed to coincide with peak demand, e.g. Christmas. A comparison of the relative importance of the problems from the initial scoring and from the scoring of the Causal Diagram showed some interesting differences (see Table 1 below). Table 1 Comparison of scores and ranks from initial exercise with those from SCD Original score Causal Diagram Difference between Problem (rank) score (rank) ranks No chemicals 10 (6=) 16 (6=) Lack of feeds 28 (2) 57 (3) (-) No Market 30 (1) 87 (1) Poor housing 14 (4) 49 (4) Parasites 6 (10) 45 (5) (+++++) No spraying Eqpt. 8 (9) 15 (8) (+) Poor feeders etc. 10 (6=) 16 (6=) Poor brooder 12 (5) 4 (9) (- - - - ) Predators 18 (3) 1 (10=) (- - - - - - - ) Heat 4 (11) 1 (10=) (+) Diseases 9 (8) 58 (2) (++++++) Key 22 score (++) increase in rank by 2 positions (2) rank (- - - ) decrease in rank by 3 positions Bold = root cause The main differences between the Causal Diagram ranking and ranking from initial scores are given below together with possible reasons for the differences. ! The importance of parasites increased because they affect marketing as well as leading to disease and death. ! Poor brooder decreased in importance as this is not a major cause of death of chickens . ! Predators are actually a very minor cause of death. It is probable that this problem was exaggerated in the initial scoring because if predators do get into the chicken run, losses are very high. However this rarely happens and is therefore not generally a serious problem.
  19. 19. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 25 ! Diseases increased in importance greatly as these are a major cause of no market , as they result in thin chickens , in addition to causing the death of chickens . ! Of the root causes, poor housing was identified as the most important as this was a major cause of diseases and parasites which in turn cause the problem of no market . Poor housing reflected the cleanliness of the structure, not simply the quality of construction. 1.7.3 Conclusions from the exercise Farmers said that the main lessons they learned from the exercise was that a few healthy chickens were more likely to be profitable than many unhealthy chickens. They also emphasised the importance of recognising that all factors act together, and that if one ingredient were missing, e.g. disease control, that this significantly affected the enterprise adversely. The comparison of scores indicated that the initial scoring of problems was misleading for certain aspects e.g. the importance of predators . Further analysis through drawing and scoring of the Causal Diagram led to scores which better reflected the reality of problems relating to poultry production in this area. No technical information was given to the farmers during this exercise, and all solutions were suggested by the group themselves. The outsiders simply acted as facilitators, showing the farmers how to undertake the exercise and then just asking questions. The benefit of this process to both farmers and researchers in understanding the system and in considering solutions to the problems faced was considerable.
  20. 20. 26 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods Photograph 3 Scoring of poultry Causal Diagram
  21. 21. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 27 1.8 Uses of Scored Causal Diagrams The construction of Scored Causal Diagrams enables farmers and outsiders to undertake an in-depth analysis of problems, and the cause and effect relationships between these problems. Through this process the root causes are identified which need to be resolved if a significant impact on the problem area is to be achieved. The scoring process adds to understanding and involves an in-depth, logical analysis of the situation. It therefore usually results in a more accurate picture of the scale of the problems in relation to one another than is achieved through more straightforward ranking and scoring procedures. However, reasons for any differences between initial rankings and those obtained from causal diagramming need to be explored with participants. The scores do not give absolute values but help to prioritise the problem areas, with respect to the impact that solving them in isolation is likely to have. They are therefore helpful in decision-making processes. Despite the apparent complexity of this method, farmers are easily able to construct the diagram and score it if the technique is demonstrated clearly. The initial increased direction by the facilitator is paid off by the increased depth of analysis that is achieved through the use of this method. However, the construction and scoring of Causal Diagrams does take significantly longer (approx 2 hrs 30 mins in total) than some of the more commonly used scoring techniques. SCDs are therefore less appropriate as a rapid survey tool. The greatest potential of this method lies in empowering communities to analyse and solve their own problems. However, it is also a useful technique for use in participatory needs assessment activities undertaken by outsiders, particularly when in-depth information is required on a specific enterprise or issue. The proper use of SCDs requires confidence and familiarity with the technique, which can only be built up through experience of using the method. So, don t give up if it does not work the first time!
  22. 22. 28 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods Method 2: Participatory Budgets (PBs) 2.1 Introduction Participatory budgeting is a method which allows farmers and outsiders to quantify and analyse resource inputs and outputs over time for a particular enterprise, or for a particular resource over the farm as a whole. This method is based on a traditional African board game generically known as mancala (tsoro in Zimbabwe and oware in Ghana), and builds on farmers abilities to play this essentially mathematical game, together with their ability to rank, score and construct seasonal diagrams which has been demonstrated in PRA activities. The method seeks to enable analysis and planning. It involves quantifying resources, but avoids the limitations of more traditional farm management methods. Participatory Budgets are simple and easy to use. They can take account of non-cash resources, they look at resource use over time, and they are implemented using readily available local materials. The method can be used with individual farmers, or with a group of farmers where one is acting as a case-study. Alternatively, an average budget can be made up for a given size of enterprise, if all the farmers in the group have similar characteristics in terms of their production practices and available resources. Participatory Budgets (PBs) are tools which examine a farmer s use and production of resources over time for a specific enterprise. Their main uses are for: ! analysing farmers existing activities, resource-use and production ! exploring the resource implications of a change to an enterprise ! comparing different enterprises ! planning a new enterprise.
  23. 23. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 29 2.2 Description of method Materials Rows of holes in a board or on the ground, or a grid. required Beans, seeds or anything which can act as counters. On the board or grid, time is represented by each column being a month, week, day or other period of time. The first column of holes is therefore the first month, the second the second month etc. Activities for each time period are indicated in the top row, using symbols. The types of resources are indicated by different types of beans in different rows on the board or grid. Quantities of resources are indicated by the number of beans, with a value attached to each bean or counter. Figure 4 Enterprise Budget Different resources e.g. labour, cash, food stocks, and how they vary over time can be represented on the budget. A budget for a particular enterprise (enterprise budget) can be produced which shows the labour, cash and other resources required each month. Resource outputs of the enterprise should also be included. It is important that the size of the enterprise is specified, for example the area of planted crop or the number of livestock. If inputs (expenditure) for the enterprise and outputs (income) are converted to cash values, the enterprise profit or loss can be worked out. Different enterprises can be compared by constructing PBs for them. The effect of making a change (e.g. changing fertiliser rates) to an existing enterprise can also be analysed. The units used in the budget should be decided by the farmer. Outsiders should not try and standardise them for their own convenience.
  24. 24. 30 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods If a particular resource is of interest, rather than an enterprise, a budget for the use of this resource can be produced for each enterprise on the farm. For example, a whole-farm labour budget, showing labour use for each different enterprise on a farm can be constructed (see Figure 5). Different rows would therefore represent different enterprises, and different types of beans can represent number of labourers, number of days or type of labour (e.g. hired or family). Figure 5 Specific resource budget e.g. for labour In this manual, time on the Participatory Budgets is indicated from left to right. This is based on our experience in Ghana and Zimbabwe. In other contexts and countries it may be more appropriate to adapt the layout of the budget so that time is indicated in another direction e.g. from right to left or from top to bottom. Photograph 4 Women farmers constructing a Participatory Budget in Masvingo District, Zimbabwe
  25. 25. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 31 2.3 Suggested procedure for constructing a Participatory Budget a Identify an enterprise which the farmer would like to examine using a PB. Through discussion ask the farmer what time period she / he would like to examine the enterprise over. This should normally be the full production period, e.g. a season. Also clarify the size of the enterprise, e.g. the field area for crops, or the number of livestock. b Draw out a large grid on the ground with the number of columns relating to the number of time periods e.g. months which the enterprise covers. Ask the farmer to symbolise the different months in the top row of the grid. If the enterprise is greatly effected by the rainfall pattern then it can be useful to include an indication of the rainfall expected by the farmer over this period. c Ask the farmer to indicate the different activities involved in the enterprise in each time period by placing symbols in the second row on the grid. d Discuss with the farmer which resources she / he considers important, and would like to include in the budget e.g. seed, labour, cash, manure. Identify different counters to represent each of these. e For the first resource selected, identify the units the farmer uses to measure this resource. For example fertiliser may be indicated by number of bags, and labour by number of people and number of days. Ask the farmer to indicate the quantity of that particular resource required in each month, by placing a specific number of beans / counters in each column of the next row of the grid. Referring to the activities row will help with this. f Repeat step (d) for each of the resources the farmer wants to include on the PB. g In the same way indicate the outputs and income that the farmer will receive from the enterprise, including any by-products e.g. fodder. h If the farmer is interested in the end balance of resources, this can be worked out by comparing resources used (expended) and products received (income). It is important that all the outputs and inputs of the enterprise are included in this and not just those given cash values. Therefore the end balance may be expressed as; 3 bags of maize and $100 cash. Or, if a cash loss is made; 3 bags of maize less $100 cash. More commercially orientated farmers may want to convert all resources into cash terms and calculate the profit.
  26. 26. 32 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods i Identify what the potential risks are to the enterprise. For example, if it is a rain-fed crop what would be the effect of the rains arriving late? Ask the farmer to indicate the effect of different scenarios on the budget (see Section 2.4 below). Practical Tip: For those farmers who find counting a problem, the following technique will be of help when determining balances: a gather the counters representing the amount of the resource used as an input. b gather the counters representing the amount of the resource produced as an output. c take one counter from each pile (i.e. to form a pair) and continue until no counters are left in one of the piles. The remaining counters indicate the size of the balance.
  27. 27. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 33 2.4 ‘What if …?’ questions – helping to assess the risks Once a budget has been produced, the effect of different events can be assessed. For example an increase in the price of an input, a delay in the onset of the rains or the effect of goats eating the vegetables. The effects of the event on the different resources and the overall budget can be examined. This can help in assessing risk, by posing the question how will I be affected if this happens? This is the first part of the risk element, the second being how likely is this to occur? By examining enterprises or new innovations under different scenarios the robustness of the enterprise or technology can be examined. Photograph 5 Example of a Participatory Budget from Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe
  28. 28. 34 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods Figure 6 a Example of a Participatory Budget for a maize enterprise, Buhera District, Zimbabwe (with annotations) This Participatory Budget was constructed by a group of women farmers in Buhera District, Zimbabwe. The budget shows the resource outputs and inputs for 1 acre of maize. When constructing the budget, symbols and counters were used on the ground. These have been interpreted for ease of explanation in Figure 6b). All labour used was family labour and the farmers chose not to cost this. All the produce was sold. Cash figures are given in Zimbabwe dollars.
  29. 29. Field size : approx. 1 acre (0.4 Ha.) Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apri May Jun Jul Aug Zimbabwe Activities -Winter -Buying of -Ploughing -1st -2nd Weeding -Harvest -Cutting and Dehusking Dehusking -Winter Shelling ploughing seed and and planting weeding weeding green stooking ploughing fertiliser mealies -Dry planting -Spreading -Fertiliser -Fertiliser -Fertiliser -Pull weeds -Shelling -Selling of manure application application application in the field AN AN -Digging of -Cutting of -Cultivation -Cultivation -Buying of manure tree empty bags regrowths -Removal of -Planting late stover in the maize crop field Labourers required 4 3 4 6 1 1 2 5 2 2 2 1 Lab days 1 month 4 2 6 14 5 5 2 14 3 5 1 No. of draught animals 4 2 2 2 2 4 Days required 3 2 4 2 5 2 Expenditure Digging Seed 10kg 20 empty Transport manure = =$90.00 bags = $200.00 $300.00 AN 2bags $140.00 Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods = $320.00 Output Green Fodder 1tonne mealies (2 bales) $1200.00 (4 buckets) Cash balance Outputs — Inputs = 1200 — 1050 =$ 150 FIELD MANUAL Figure 6 b Interpreted Participatory Budget for a maize enterprise, Buhera District, 35
  30. 30. 36 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods 2.5 Comparative PBs An adaptation to the Participatory Budget is the comparative PB. This can be particularly useful when investigating a change to an existing enterprise, or the adoption of a new enterprise, as it allows a comparison between the two options to be made. The comparative PB allows a direct comparison of the resource inputs and outputs of two different options and helps the farmer to decide which option is more feasible in his / her particular situation. The method can be used with individuals or a group. In a group, participants must come to a consensus on the amounts of inputs and outputs etc. for a specified size of enterprise. To construct a comparative PB, a PB must first be produced for the existing enterprise. Then a second budget incorporating the change is produced. The two budgets are combined onto the same grid on alternate rows so that activities for the first enterprise are on the top row, and the activities of the second enterprise are on the second row. This sequence continues down the grid for all the resources considered (see Figure 7 below). There are two different methods of constructing a comparative PB. 1 The two budgets are constructed separately and then combined onto a large grid. This is suitable if all the participants are familiar with the two enterprises being examined. 2 Alternatively the first budget can be produced and the second budget made up directly onto the grid of the first budget. If this method is used it is important that the rows on the grid are wide enough to include the second budget. This is more suitable when examining the resource implications of an adaptation to an existing enterprise.
  31. 31. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 37 Figure 7 Example layout for a comparative Participatory Budget, comparing two enterprises A and B Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Activities (A) Activities (B) Labour (A) Labour (B) Other Inputs (A) Other Inputs (B) Cash Exp. (A) Cash Exp (B) Outputs (A) Outputs (B) Balance (A) Balance(B) 2.6 Comparative PB example: groundnuts and sunflower, Zimbabwe. This exercise was carried out at the request of farmers in Buhera District, Zimbabwe who wanted to compare the two main cash crops grown in their area, sunflower and groundnuts. This example illustrates the use of a comparative PB and how PFM methods can be combined with existing PRA type methods to help farmers in their decision-making. 2.6.1 Procedure Initial discussion focused on why farmers grow these two different crops and what factors are taken into consideration when deciding which crop to grow. A scoring exercise was then conducted to examine the relative importance of these decision-making factors (see Table 2). In this way non-resource factors that could not be considered in the budget were taken into account. After the farmer described the field in which he was considering growing the crop, the group divided into two with the farmer and his wife each heading one of the groups. Group A drew up a budget for sunflower and group B a budget for groundnuts for the field described. The two budgets were then combined on a single grid (see Figure 8).
  32. 32. 38 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods 2.6.2 Results The scores indicate differences between the crops for each of the criteria identified. The higher the score, the better. For example for the criteria of yield, groundnuts (9) give better yields than sunflower (2). For seed availability sunflower seed (8) is much easier to obtain than groundnut seed (3). Farmers also ranked the importance of each of the criteria in their decision-making. Table 2 Scores of decision-making criteria Criteria GN SF Importance of criteria Yield 9 2 1 (i.e. most important) Seed availability 3 8 2= N-fixation (manure) 8 1 2 = (important as if rotate with maize get good maize crop) Price/income 6 1 3 Ease of processing into oil 2 7 4 Ease of processing into butter 10 1 (can t) 5 Use for feeds 1 1 6 Drought tolerance 2 10 7 (considered unimportant as outside farmers control)
  33. 33. Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept SF Act Winter Seed Planting Thinning Ridging up Harvesting – Threshing Buy empty Transport Clear lands plough preparation Early weeding cutting Winnowing bags to GMB (1 bucket) heads GN Act Planting Weeding Weeding Ridging up Check Uprooting Drying Bagging & Ploughing Preparation ripening Picking transport (for next of seed District, Zimbabwe Winnowing season) 3 buckets SF Labour people 2 2 3 5 2 0 0 5+1 (hired) 8 1 1 8 (123 mdays) days 3 3 3 2 2 0 0 5 4 1 1 3 GN Labour people 3 5 5 2 0 2 5 5 0 2 0 8 (137 mdays) days 3 6 4 3 0 1 5 6 0 3 0 1 SF Cash $30 cost of bags transport spent excluded as $140 kept GN Cash $60 $30 $30 $240 spent SF Income poultry feed $1400 & outputs GN Income 3 scotch-carts $4000 (+5 & outputs hay for fodder bags kept for consumption) Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods SF Balance 1400-170 = $1230 + poultry feed GN Balance 4000-360 = $3640 FIELD MANUAL +5 bags +fodder Figure 8 Comparative Participatory Budget for groundnut and sunflower crops, Buhera 39 Key SF: sunflower GN: groundnuts
  34. 34. 40 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods 2.6.3 Conclusions Through construction of the Participatory Budget the farmers were able to express why they opted for the different crops. It was found that farmers with little family labour and no money to hire labour grow sunflower as groundnuts require more labour than sunflower. Better off farmers, or those who have more family labour, often grow groundnuts as it is a more profitable crop and there are more uses for it. However, those who grow groundnuts will often also grow sunflower as an insurance policy in case there is a drought, as groundnuts are much more susceptible to drought than sunflower. The budget illustrated clearly the resources required for the two crops and their profitability . Visualising the farmers knowledge in this form clarified and summarised the differences between the two crops for them. The process of constructing the budget also assisted communication between the facilitator and farmers, particularly regarding what factors influence farmers choices between the two crops. All the farmers were enthusiastic about the exercise and keen to repeat it for different enterprises. Photograph 6 Farmers constructing a Participatory Budget for sunflower and groundnuts, Buhera District, Zimbabwe
  35. 35. Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods FIELD MANUAL 41 2.7 Uses of Participatory Budgets Participatory Budgets have a variety of potential uses in both research and extension. As is demonstrated in the previous example, they can be used by extension staff to jointly explore options with farmers. They can also be used at several stages of the research process: in preliminary needs assessment; in the suitability assessment or screening of technologies / solutions, particularly with reference to their resource implications; and in the monitoring and evaluation of technologies during on-farm trials. Some specific uses of Participatory Budgets include: ! Exploring the suitability of a new enterprise or technology by analysing its demand for resources at different times of the year and comparing this with other demands on those resources ! Comparing a new enterprise or technology with an existing practice ! Examining the likely effects of making changes to an existing enterprise e.g. replacing chemical fertiliser with manure or compost ! Investigating the effects of timing of activities e.g. to determine the best timing for poultry production activities to exploit the Christmas market ! Exploring risks and the effects of factors outside the farmers control, by the examination of What if ? scenarios ! Determining the size of a loan required and the realistic timing of repayment 2.8 Potential pitfalls It is important that Participatory Budgets are not used to convince the farmer of something, nor should they be seen simply as tools to predict or record profitability . Their purpose and strength is in helping the farmer to consider the different factors and issues involved in starting a new enterprise, or in changing an existing enterprise, in order to help in their decision-making. Interacting with farmers in this process helps researchers and extension agents to understand resource options available to the farmer and the basis for farmers decisions. It is essential therefore that when using PBs farmers consider what they actually do, not what they think the outsider wants them to do.
  36. 36. 42 FIELD MANUAL Participatory Farm Management (PFM) methods The facilitator also needs to ensure that the exercise does not get side- tracked into just considering money. Although PBs can be used to predict or record profitability , their primary purpose is to enhance understanding about resource allocation options and decision-making. All resource inputs and outputs that the participants consider to be important should be included — however care should be taken to avoid the budget becoming too complicated.